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Cunningham out, Martelle in

Healthy turnout for forum on open Bethlehem board seat

Jeremy Martelle, who ran for town board in January 2011, seeks appointment for town board after the vacancy left by Mark Jordan.

Jeremy Martelle, who ran for town board in January 2011, seeks appointment for town board after the vacancy left by Mark Jordan. Photo by Marcy Velte.

— Former town supervisor Jack Cunningham announced he has ended his bid for the Bethlehem Town Board seat left empty by Mark Jordan at a recent League of Women Voters forum held to educate the public about the board’s future appointment decision.

Just hours before the event, Cunningham emailed a statement to Albany County League President Mary Berry informing her of his decision. The announcement left some people in the packed meeting room of the Delmar Presbyterian Church stunned.

“As Supervisor (John) Clarkson begins his term, we as Democrats and residents of the town all want him to succeed at solving the many problems we face, including the structural budget deficits. And we all want to do what is right to support him in this effort,” Berry read from Cunningham’s letter. “It has become apparent that placing my name into consideration to fill the Town Board vacancy has become an impediment to that goal.”

The former supervisor was expected to join the forum’s panel of applicants who wish to be appointed to the vacant seat. There were eight known candidates following Cunningham's announcement.

Then, Supervisor John Clarkson asked Jeremy Martelle if he wished to participate in the forum. Martelle accepted, explaining to the public how he had sent his resume to Clarkson that morning. Martelle, a Republican, ran in the November general election.

Cunningham still plans to run in November’s special election if he is nominated by the Democratic Party, as does Martelle.

Clarkson has said he would not support the bid of anyone who planned to run for re-election because he wished to appoint a “non-political individual.”

“I think it’s probably for the best,” said Clarkson of Cunningham’s decision. “His statement was very gracious and will help with the betterment of the town.”

Cunningham said on Friday he felt it was appropriate to remove his name so the board could focus on the issues at hand.

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